A lung transplant earlier this year gave Pam Mohr her life back – now the grandmother is doing a sponsored walk to raise funds for the hospital which treated her.
The former Wisbech teacher also wants to raise the profile of the NHS Organ Donor Register and hopes her story will encourage others to sign up to help save a life.
The 60-year-old first started feeling unwell in 2008 when she developed nasal problems and a cough she couldn’t shake off.
Despite numerous trips to the doctor and hospital referrals her breathing continued to deteriorate.
In 2011 Pam was rushed to hospital with a collapsed lung and following further tests was diagnosed with Interstitial Lung Disease – an incurable condition causing severe scarring to the lungs.
“They are now starting to do a bit more research into it and think in my case it was caused by a one-off allergy to birds,” said Pam, formerly the deputy headteacher at Clarkson Nursery and Infant School.
“In my case it’s possible it could have come from a pair of love birds we had when the children were small – that was over 25 years ago.
“It has been dormant all that time, until winter 2010 when I had a chest infection.
“The prognosis was not very good at all; a few years at best as they couldn’t cure it – just treat it with steroids.”
Pam was referred to Papworth Hospital where, under the care of a specialist team, she was put forward as a prime candidate for a transplant.
“I don’t think it had sunk in how ill I really was,” recalls Pam.
“It was getting to the stage I wasn’t really able to do much at all.
“I couldn’t walk from the bedroom to the en-suite without oxygen.”
Eighteen months after going on the donor register a match was found and Pam underwent the six-hour operation on May 5.
Three weeks later she was allowed home, after making incredible progress.
“When I came round, the first thing I remember thinking was that I was breathing properly,” she says.
“After the operation I started doing things I couldn’t before like playing with the grandchildren.
“The operation gave me my life back and now I’d like to raise awareness about the shortage of organ donors.”
To thank Papworth, Pam and her family are taking part in a sponsored walk at Ferry Meadows on Sunday.
For the last two years she completed the 1.5-mile course, but this year hopes to walk at least three miles.
• You can sponsor Pam by visiting www.justgiving.com/Pam-Mohr